Sunday, January 17, 2010

In defense of "traditional Western civilization WASP heterosexual culture": Another response to Richard Day

In a previous post, I criticized the promotion for a movie called, "Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up." I made the general case that it was one more strike against reason, common sense, and one more contribution to the decline of Western culture. In doing so, I managed to incur the wrath of feared the Gender Department of the Tolerance Police, who, after clicking their heels, explained that, in expressing my opinion about such things, I am being intolerant and insensitive.

I have therefore been issued several directives, dripping with tolerance and sensitivity, ordering me to zeaze und dezist from zese ekshpreshons of incorrect zought, und eksplaining zat such views vehr zimply verboten, although really the only danger I have felt during this controversy is the kind one would feel when in the presence of Colonel Klink.

One of these directives has come from Richard Day, who explained, in a post at his own blog Kentucky News and Commentary, why such views were unacceptable.

Richard has recently expanded his writing style from pretty lucid educationese to sounding now more like a women's studies professor having a bad hair day. He criticizes me for "clinging to the vestiges of western cultural domination."

I have apparently deviated from the more acceptable neonarrative about gender by returning to a preconstructivist paradigm which is undergirded by a pretextual patriarchalism that fails to take account of the poststructural sublimation of sexual identity and does not recognize the nonstatic nature of sex.

Now I have no idea what the previous paragraph means, but I'm quite sure that when Richard gets good in this new post-textual ideological semantics, we'll be hearing something very much like it over at his blog. Pretty soon, he'll be ready to submit articles to Social Theory and have them enthusiastically accepted.

"Vestiges of western cultural domination?" What is that? Have they run out of pop psychological fads at teachers' colleges and replaced them with neomarxist ideology? I guess when you've rejected legitimate intellectual endeavors, it's hard trying to find things to replace them with.

After quoting my summary of the movie's promotional text and expressing what appeared to me to be the clear implication of the promotional language that a Lexington's student's suicide was the fault of traditional views on sexuality, Day remarks:
Is Cothran suggesting that the nail that sticks up will be hammered down; or should be; and somehow, that's OK? ...because it's majority rule?'s traditional? ...because the kid's asking for it by daring to be different? Shipman seems to be cast as having caused his own torment.
If I was suggesting that, I would have actually..., oh, I don't know, suggested that. But I didn't. And if he thinks I was suggesting that, then he should produce some evidence that I was. What I do think (although I didn't say it in my post) was that schools should uphold the traditional family as the ideal. I think that because the traditional family is actually good for society, a belief that is not controversial among those who are familiar with the evidence on the subject, but which is apparently controversial in places like education colleges.

But now that schools have given up on passing on Western culture and are now engaged in actively undermining it--and being encouraged in the endeavor by people like Day--I suppose that is now too much to expect. So those of us in the home and private school movement will have to continue to take the refugees from the public schools, where learning is slowly being replaced with ideological indoctrination, and do it ourselves.

The boy that was the subject of the movie was bullied by his peers at school, in addition to having Multiple Disorder Disorder (MDD)-- suffering everything from a problem with "self-mutilation, feeling rejected by his mother and battles with his dad ... ADHD, bipolar disorder and an attachment disorder," to "becoming overly close to people who expressed even a minor interest in him." He also apparently suffered from too many people who were enthusiastic about coming up with names for things he was suffering from. His was a condition which, when we were ignorant teenagers, we simply referred to as being "weird." But this is a diagnosis which the modern medical and psychological establishment is reticent to give, not being nearly as scientific sounding--or lucrative--as the other alternatives.

Regardless of the boy's problems, I'm against bullying, and think it should punished. Although I realize that punishment is a vestige of Western cultural domination, I still think it's a pretty good idea. But bullying has nothing to do with whether there is behavior specifically appropriate to males or females, respectively. Bullying is bullying, and the people who run our schools have the tools to deal with it. One wonders, in this case, why they didn't.

And then we get the customary lecture about the "natural inclination" to be gay:
Shipman [the Dunbar High School student who killed himself] had every citizen's right to be whatever his creator made him. Shipman's father told H-L it was pretty clear that Josh was gay from the age of 4 or 5. That does not sound like a choice to me. It sounds more like a natural inclination.
Of course, I addressed this logically contradictory doubletalk in my original post, but Richard studiously ignored it. I don't blame him. If he could have explained the coherence of the view that, while masculinity and femininity are not inborn, homosexuality is, he would have been the first to do it.

Day, in protesting my rejection of the nonscientific and exclusively ideological view that holds gender and sex to be disconnected, rejects the heterosexual view of the connection between them. He clearly thinks my rejection is intolerant and his is not. One wonders why. But in making his case, he calls my view the view of "traditional western civilization WASP heterosexual culture."

Is it a measure of the lack of historical knowledge among public educators that they think that the historical view that heterosexuality is the norm is limited to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs)? I mean, we all know about the historical acceptance of homosexuality among Catholics, don't we? And how about the traditional acceptance of homosexuality as the norm among African, Asian, and Latin American cultures?

I think Richard must have gotten himself confused by all that multiculturalist propaganda over at the teacher's college, where modern Western liberal ideology is mapped onto other cultures (which are largely racist and sexist by modern Western standards) and passed off as a genuine appreciation of these cultures. But it makes multiculturalists feels so accepting and tolerant, and that's its primary purpose after all, isn't it?

"WASP," Richard? Think about it.

Says Richard:
I wonder if part of the issue involves how folks see human sexuality. Many heterosexuals, it seems to me, see sexuality as a dichotomy. You have "outdoor plumbing" - you're a man. Act like it. Indoor? Get in the kitchen. Fix me some meatloaf.

I wonder if it isn't more of a continuum, albeit bimodal.
Nevermind those pesky XY chromosomes: we've got a political agenda to pursue here.

And speaking of mapping onto others our own preconceptions, Day repeatedly attributes to me views he would apparently like me to have but which come as a surprise to me, the person who's supposed to have them. He repeatedly attributes to me the view that being "different" is bad:
It was another of his regular strawmen who did it - the "modern liberal secular society" which is "constantly championing social policies" that allows folks to be different. That's the problem.
Regular strawmen? Maybe he should read this paragraph and then compare it to what I actually said and then think a minute about pots calling kettles black.

And then he goes into the obligatory sermon about what Christianity is really all about and what Jee-sus said and all that. Now because my audience on this blog is, in good part, antagonistic toward traditional Western culture in general and Christianity is particular, I rarely appeal to Christian principles or explicitly Biblical beliefs as evidence for my positions--not because I don't believe them because I do. I don't to that because I believe in the Natural Law that is evident not just to Christian believers, but to everyone (a Biblical belief, by the way). In fact, not only do I not do that on this blog: I don't do it in any of my policy work. Despite this, I seem to attract these little sermons from my detractors.

Every time I testify in front of a committee in Frankfort that includes Kathy Stein in its membership, no sooner am I done with my testimony, in which I present a case based on reason and publicly available evidence, than Kathy preaches a sermon at me and waves a Bible in my face. These people are the people who get upset when other people bring religion into politics, and yet they're the first ones to bring it up. In fact, this is the second or third time Richard has taken the pulpit in one of our disagreements.

Maybe he missed his calling.
Isn't it a secular impulse to use religion for one's own political purposes?
Yes, Richard, apparently it is. Read your posts.

And then I must endure a final indignity. After listening respectfully to his lecture, given in righteous tones, about the sinfulness of bringing religion into politics (a sin I am unaware of ever committing), I then hear him invoking the Golden Rule as a model policy for schools.

I sometimes wonder if liberal ideology isn't more of a continuum, albeit bipolar.


The Formans said...


Regarding your statement:
> my audience on this blog is, in good part, antagonistic toward traditional Western culture

Just wanted to let you know that you may have more supportive non-commenting readers than you know. Why should we comment when you've already persuasively argued that boys are boys and girls are girls!?

We regularly enjoy your postings.

Martin Cothran said...


Thank you. Sometimes it seems like my entire audience is a peanut gallery. It's kinda fun, but it's also nice to know I have people who actually agree me from time to time.

Lee said...

Likewise, Martin, I am generally in agreement with what you say, and admire your knowledge of logic and your skill at using it.

Our perspectives are different to some degree, but I always enjoy reading yours.

Art said...

If he could have explained the coherence of the view that, while masculinity and femininity are not inborn, homosexuality is, he would have been the first to do it.

Um, there's a difference between "masculinity and femininity" and sexual preference. Richard probably gets it. Martin, you seem to be blessedly clueless.

Martin Cothran said...


I guess I'm so clueless that I don't even understand what you are saying. My remark neither assumes nor proposes that "masculinity and femininity" and "sexual preference" are the same. I wasn't even talking about "sexual preference," other than to point out that, if the gay rights advocates among the academic cultural constructivists were being intellectually consistent, they would be using the term "sexual preference" rather than "sexual orientation."